By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
For a couple of days, Rodney Lee was the men’s basketball team’s biggest hero.
The senior guard’s off-balance three-pointer with three seconds left on the clock secured ACU’s 68-65 win over Lone Star Confer-ence South opponent Texas A&M-Commerce last Thurs-day in Moody Coliseum.
“He had a look in his eye before the game that I appreciated,” ACU head coach Klint Pleasant said following the victory. “That look told me he’s ready to play, and when he’s ready to play, I’ll play Duke.”
The Wildcats didn’t play Duke, but they did take on Texas A&M-Kinsgville Sat-urday in Moody Coliseum, where Lee nearly repeated his feat of two nights before.
After Kingsville’s Remi Yusuf knocked down a 10-foot jumper with 1.48 seconds remaining to give the Javelinas a 66-64 advantage, Lee’s 55-foot heave from just inside the half-court line barely clanged off the front of the rim, ending his last-second heroics.
“[Rodney] got a great shot off and I thought it had a chance to go in,” Pleasant said. “But that was a great shot that [Yusuf] hit before the buzzer.”
Kingsville’s Robert Hamilton and William Brown controlled the game in the ACU loss. Hamilton scored 21 points and collected nine rebounds, while Brown scored 15 points after capitalizing on 3-for-3 3-point shooting.
Lee led ACU in scoring with 18, while junior guard David Baxter and senior forward Tucker Pierson each scored 13.
“After looking at film from the game, I saw that we dropped or bobbled five passes in transition,” Pleasant said. “That was bad spacing and mental errors, and they capitalized on that and went on runs.”
ACU, now 11-10 overall and 2-4 for fifth place in the LSC South, could easily be one of the top teams in the division, said Pleasant.
“You look at two of our losses, and one of them came in overtime and one was on a buzzer-beater,” Pleasant said. “So in one eyeblink, we’re 4-2 and second place.”
The Wildcats will prepare this week for a four-game road trip against LSC South opponents they have already faced: Commerce, Kingsville, Midwestern State and Angelo State.
“I told the guys that we still control our own destiny,” Pleasant said. “These four games-we know we can win all four. It’s tough to play on the road, but we have to have a lot of toughness the next 14 days to have a chance to be in the playoffs.”